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Richard Stafford

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Richard Stafford

Always having a bathroom present for his use was a luxury Ringo took for granted whenever he was in the Ravenclaw common room. He hadn’t even needed to think about it. And he’d never had to use the loo whenever he was in class, so he was able to go a stupidly long time before realizing that getting to the bathrooms throughout the castle was actually a little bit less practical considering the fact that the bloody staircases moved literally every single time, thus making getting to the bathroom that much more difficult.

 

By now, Ringo liked to believe that he was used to the shifting staircases and the unpredictability of the contraption, but he’d forgotten that these stairs didn’t give a flying flip where he was trying to go—they’d shift around and take him somewhere completely different from where he was planning on going. And with a bladder full of pumpkin juice, that was the worst possible scenario to be in.

 

Somehow, someway, he’d ended up on the second floor. He spent about five minutes running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to find the boys’ loo on this floor before he accepted that there probably wasn’t a boys’ loo on this floor. There probably wasn’t a loo on this floor at all, which was just bloody ridiculous. All these floors and yet there not all of them were jam-packed with usable washrooms? Blasphemy!

 

He was on the verge of crying—like proper crying—when the sound of someone’s voice carried through the corridor and landed in his ears. He followed the voice (singing, really) and found himself facing the girls’ loo, and thanked the high heavens that he wouldn’t be forced to run around for even longer. Dashing inside the washroom, Ringo ran past the singing girl into a stall. Suddenly, he felt really self-conscious. He was in the girls’ loo and there was a girl in there and she was going to hear him using it. He’d never be able to look a girl in the eye again.

 

“Um, excuse me,” he called softly through the stall door, “could you please close your ears? Or... I dunno, go outside? Just for a little bit!”

Edited by Richard Stafford

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Harper Caldwell

The first day’s of her life at Hogwarts had been as interesting, as exciting, and as magical as Harper thought they would be. The castle was humongous, alive in a way the girl couldn’t imagine any other building could duplicate. Ghosts floated through walls, statues of armor marched through the corridor, the stairs changed their mind more than any indecisive teen, portraits chatted across their frames to one another… it was amazing. The education wasn’t lacking either. Teachers taught their pupils how to make use of their wands and magic, to prepare ingredients to brew into useful potions, students fathered together to learn how to duel, and brooms were actually used to fly. 

 

Harper certainly wasn’t bored at Hogwarts. There was a new and interesting thing around every corner, packed into the busy schedule of her day. Most of the students she had spoken to in her year had been friendly for the most part. The only one she was uncertain about was Dale. But as a friendly girl with such an inquisitive and driven mind, the eleven year old was in her element.

 

It didn’t stop her from feeling homesick though.

 

She missed her mum, her dad, and even her younger sister and baby brother. She expected to miss them… but not this much. Their letters promised her that they missed her too. They tried to keep each other up to loop in their lives but a letter could only say so much. She hated that her cell phone and laptop wouldn’t work at Hogwarts. She would have felt a million times better being able to talk to him, to see their faces, to hear their voices… That morning, it hit her really hard and the Hufflepuff broke down in tears, the loneliness and experience of being away from her family so long too much to bare.

 

She missed her music too. Apparently wizards listened to something called the WWN, something akin to an ancient muggle radio. She didn’t have one. There wasn’t a public one. Even if there was, she wouldn’t be able to listen to her music. Harper’s walls in her bedroom at home were barely visible, hidden underneath posters of her favorite artists, musicals, and playbills. Before Hogwarts, she wanted to be a theatre performer. She was even accepted into a performing arts school. Those dreams were over for the time being but the music would still bring her comfort. 

 

That’s why she was singing her little heart out alone in the supposedly haunted bathroom. Her voice was pretty good for an eleven year old but more importantly, if she closed her eyes, she could imagine that everything was the same. Her dad was in the kitchen cooking dinner, her mum watching telly in the living room, her sister kicked out of their shared room… It was perfect.

 

“Ahhh!” Until it wasn’t. A boy came rushing through, loud as an elephant, and rushed into a stall. The girl was aghast. “Why should I leave? You’re a boy and I’m a girl… and this is a girl’s bathroom!"

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Richard Stafford

“Why should I leave? You’re a boy and I’m a girl… and this is a girl’s bathroom!"

 

Right, well. Ringo couldn’t argue with that logic. But, in his defense, this wasn’t entirely his fault. He’d been pushed to this very location at this very time by forces wholly out of his control, and he was simply trying to make the best of his current situation by coming up with a solution that would accommodate them both. He couldn’t run around any longer to try to find another bathroom. His bladder wouldn’t be able to handle the added distance, and his self-esteem wouldn’t be able to handle the blow that would surely come if he was known as the lad who’d had an accident on himself. He’d have to leave the country and change his name. Start a whole new life as a yoga instructor or something. He didn’t even know how to do yoga.

 

Yeah, well...” He couldn’t hold it in any longer. He absolutely could not hold it in any longer. Ringo no longer cared about the girl who’d hear him or the shame that would follow, he just needed to bloody pee. And, so, he did. Without a care or worry in the world. For those few blissful moments, he was the only person in the entire world. Then, those moments ended and he was quickly brought back to reality, and the expected shame hit him like a freight train. He flushed, took a few moments inside the stall to collect himself before he’d have to go back outside and look that girl in the face, then slowly opened the stall door. Ringo purposely didn’t make eye contact with her after he got out, opting instead to stare at his shoes like they were the most interesting things in the world.

 

It wasn’t until he got to the sink to wash his hands—because he might’ve been raised on a farm but he wasn’t a barnyard animal—when he was finally forced to look at the girl. Mainly because her reflection stared at him in the mirror.

 

“So, what were you singing when I came in?” He was desperate to make the situation less awkward. “It sounded nice—you sounded nice, I mean,” he said with an awkward smile.

Edited by Richard Stafford

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Harper Caldwell

If she hadn’t been so shocked, Harper most likely wouldn’t have challenged the boy and refused to go. As it was, the thin brunette was so surprised that she felt a little on edge. She didn’t deal with change well and a boy barging into a girl’s bathroom and demanding she live threw her for a loop. But slowly, she started to calm down and watched the boy with careful eyes, trying to determine if he had good intentions honestly only wanting to pee or if he was some sort of perverted animal. 

 

Also known as most eleven year old boys. 

 

In her experience, most of them were up to no good. 

 

Harper didn’t have long to observe her peer as he rushed into a nearby stall. Her lips parted in disbelief as she heard a hard stream of water hitting water. Her nose scrunched in disgust, freckles disappearing into the creases of her cheeks, and she hurried over to the faucet to turn on the tap. The sink water calmly hitting its ceramic base presented a much softer and comfortable noise. She could almost forget for a few moments at least that there was an unfamiliar boy peeing only her a few meters away from her. 

 

Then, in what would be the most ten awkward seconds so far in her short life, Harper heard the flush and fingers undoing the lock. The boy came out, his head hung low like a puppy expecting to be disciplined. He couldn’t even look her in the eye as he approached the sink. 

 

The fact that he, a boy, went to wash his hands without any prompting was enough for Harper to finally make her mind up that the boy didn’t mean any harm. As awkward and uncomfortable as it made her feel, he just needed to pee. By the time he spoke up, the Hufflepuff had a slight smile on her face, as if to call a truce. 

 

“It was a song from one of my favorite musicals!” Her smile grew wider and more natural. She loved speaking about musicals. It was her favorite thing. “Oh… um, that’s a muggle thing, in case you don’t.” Did the magical world have musicals? It should. The stagecraft would be amazing. “And sorry about before… you know, when you needed to pi— um, tinkle.”

 

It was still too weird to admit a boy had peed practically in front of her. 

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